Is it legal to "carry suppressed" in Georgia?

Discussion in 'General GWL Questions' started by JamesD, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. JamesD

    JamesD New Member

    Hello all,

    I'm 70 y/o, and recently had a small "hearing incident" at the range.
    I don't know what happened. Maybe my hearing protection got compromised somehow.

    Anyway... I've sustained just the teeniest damage to one ear.
    Not much, compared to MANY whom I know.
    But enough to put the fear of God in me.

    So, I've been thinking to maybe run the Federal gauntlet and buy me a suppressor... or two... or so.

    At the range, sure. And on my home defense guns inside my home, you betcha.

    But what about carrying suppressed?

    I have gone to, then to Georgia,
    and done word searches on the entire Georgia gun law.
    On "suppressed", "suppressor", and "silencer".

    None of those words come up.

    So... I want to think that if it's not prohibited, then it is lawful.

    Assuming, of course, a valid GWL.
    And the valid Fed suppressor paperwork of course.

    But you know... I hate to just "think" it's lawful, or "assume" it's lawful.

    Does anyone have any affirmative knowledge about the legality of carrying "suppressed" in Georgia?

    Much obliged for any help.

  2. Wegahe

    Wegahe NRA Instructor

    I haven't looked but so take this as just speculation. I've always gone on the assumption if it's not illegal then it must be legal. Check Georgia law and if there is no law making it illegal then it is legal.

  3. MLS 4506

    MLS 4506 Active Member

    the only gotcha I can think of would be with reciprocity .carry of class 1 across state lines.
  4. UtiPossidetis

    UtiPossidetis American

    Carry your tax stamp with you. Other than that, how is it different?
  5. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

    Your GWCL covers open and concealed carry of "weapons" defined as a knife or a handgun. OCGA 16-11-125.1

    Suppressors (and all NFA items) are legal in GA with "the stamp." OCGA 16-11-124.

    Carrying both a handgun and a suppressor on your person - open or concealed - with a GWCL and the stamp would appear to be legal if separated. I'm not sure if they are attached because the GWCL doesn't cover the suppressor. Anybody else want to chime in?

    All that aside, assuming you want to carry the handgun suppressed, have you considered the mechanics of carrying that setup? Depending on the suppressor, you could be doubling the length of the weapon. Needless to say, you'll probably also be gathering the attention of Joe Citizen and Officer Friendly.
  6. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

    "Class" refers to Special Occupational Taxpayers.

    The handgun is a Type 1 weapon. The suppressor is a Type 2 (NFA) weapon.

    The NFA item has to be legal in the non-resident state for reciprocity to apply.
  7. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    Like Moe said, it's legal to carry here in Ga. No law against packing NFA firearms that are registered to you or your trust.

    And, I second Moe's concern about the practical issue of the SIZE of a pistol with a silencer on it. That's going to add six inches to the "barrel length" and limit what kind of holsters will work on such a weapons system.
  8. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    James D., here's a "legal issue" to consider that can't be definitively answered by looking at Georgia codes from O.C.G.A. ---

    --- Would your choice to carry an NFA weapon (silenced pistol, or short shotgun, short barreled rifle, machinegun, destructive device, or Any Other Weapon (AOW) reflect badly on your character to a jury?
    Would your gun/ accessory choice be used by the prosecutor to indicate you are a violent or paranoid person, who is NOT REASONABLE, and whose use of said weapon was not reasonably necessary (therefore not legal self defense)?

    It's something to consider, especially if the bad guys you wound, or just point your gun at, tell the cops that it was all a misunderstanding, and you're a vigilante, and they "din du nuffin".
    UtiPossidetis likes this.
  9. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

    May not be prohibited by law, but it make you appear to be a criminal waiting to do criminal things and get away with it because of the silenced gun.

    If you ever get checked for something and that becomes a topic of conversation expect detailed inquiry.

  10. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

    Here's a pic of my old Beretta 92FS with an AWC Abraxas suppressor. The Abraxas is a relatively small and light (titanium) pistol can. Most are longer, especially if your pistol requires a Nielson device. Carrying it around is a major issue. Unless you're a movie spy or assassin who never have that problem because they have 2" long cans - that work.:lol:

  11. phantoms

    phantoms Senior Mumbler

  12. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    You raise a new issue that perhaps has not been considered.

    Element of the crime v. affirmative defense.

    Carrying a pistol in public without a firearms license is a crime. Law enforcement, however, cannot assume you are unlicensed and detain you, because the lack of a license is an element of the crime. It is on the state to prove this element. Therefore, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you are unlicensed. "Well, I didn't know he's not a convicted felon" does not rise to the level of reasonable suspicion of a crime.

    Now, let us turn to the "silencer." What happens when this silencer comes to the attention of the local constabulary?

    O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-122
    Possession of sawed-off shotgun or rifle, machine gun, silencer, or dangerous weapon prohibited

    No person shall have in his possession any sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer except as provided in Code Section 16-11-124.

    O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-124
    Exemptions from application of part

    This part shall not apply to:

    (1) A peace officer of any duly authorized police agency of this state or of any political subdivision thereof, or a law enforcement officer of any department or agency of the United States who is regularly employed and paid by the United States, this state, or any such political subdivision, or an employee of the Department of Corrections of this state who is authorized in writing by the commissioner of corrections to transfer or possess such firearms while in the official performance of his duties;

    (2) A member of the National Guard or of the armed forces of the United States to wit: the army, navy, marine corps, air force, or coast guard who, while serving therein, possesses such firearm in the line of duty;

    (3) Any sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer which has been modified or changed to the extent that it is inoperative. Examples of the requisite modification include weapons with their barrel or barrels filled with lead, hand grenades filled with sand, or other nonexplosive materials;

    (4) Possession of a sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer by a person who is authorized to possess the same because he has registered the sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer in accordance with the dictates of the National Firearms Act, 68A Stat. 725 (26 U.S.C. Sections 5841-5862); and

    (5) A security officer employed by a federally licensed nuclear power facility or a licensee of such facility, including a contract security officer, who is trained and qualified under a security plan approved by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission or other federal agency authorized to regulate nuclear facility security; provided, however, that this exemption shall apply only while such security officer is acting in connection with his or her official duties on the premises of such nuclear power facility or on properties outside the facility property pursuant to a written agreement entered into with the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the facility. The exemption under this paragraph does not include the possession of silencers.​
  13. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    Subsection (4) of Code section 16-11-124 is probably the subsection upon which you would rely to carry the silencer legally. The problem, here, is that the law is worded differently. Having registered and paid the transfer tax is an exception to the crime. That is, your possession is unlawful, except that you registered it.

    This is an affirmative defense.

    Officers do not even have to inquire into affirmative defenses before making the arrest.
  14. GAfirearmsReference

    GAfirearmsReference Weapons Law Booklet

    Some time ago, I tried to look up caselaw on what a "affirmative defense" would mean when that defense was invoked by a suspect in the field right at the time the officers were in the process of retaining or arresting him.

    In Georgia and in the 11th circuit, I could not find any cases with that fact pattern.

    The "affirmative defenses" I found were all things that were asserted later in pretrial motions and hearings , and they were based on circumstances that were not known, and could not be known, to the officers in the field before making the arrest.

    They were not the type of situations where a suspect could "prove his innocence" immediately, easily, the way you could show an officer a clear photocopy of your BATF Form 1 or Form 4 showing your NFA weapon is properly registered to you (or your trust).

    I found some cases in another circuit that said while an officer has no duty to investigate an affirmative defense raised out in the field by a suspect, and that officer need not attempt to evaluate the truth or falsity of any verbal statements that said suspect makes... officer who happens to know that an affirmative defense applies to the situation may not arrest the individual anyway.

    The trouble with applying this doctrine in real life is that cops may not give you a chance to produce your federal registation documents to back up your "verbal statements."

    The cops could be willfully ignorant of this evidence, and thus maintain "plausible deniability" that you were legally carrying.
  15. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

    Ayn Rand was right...................................
  16. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    Sure. Note in the Marta case mentioned above, the individual was not charged (if that is what you mean by arrest). It may practically work out that way. I just wanted to make the original poster aware that he is opening himself up to legal harassment, including the potential of gun pointing and lying on the dirty, hot concrete, should the officer feel like doing so. Even 30 minutes out of one's day being harassed by the police is a stressful and demeaning experience, and it could lead to real world consequences if one is late for work or an important meeting with a client or a court hearing or does not make it to the DMV before closing time . . .

    And then there is the burden of carrying the ATF Form 4 everywhere. It does not exactly fit neatly in a wallet or a pants pocket, and I would hate to see the condition it would be in if somebody had chosen to carry it daily that way, even if it does not end up in the washing machine with the laundry.
  17. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

    I have miniature copies of Form 4s in my wallet. They don't look great, but they are legible (perhaps a jeweler's loop would help) and it would be false to claim I don't have it in my possession.